In life, we’re either in a storm, we’re coming out of a storm or we’re about to go into a storm. No matter how strong you think you are, it’s good to have some anchors in your life to remind you of things you’ve done. It reminds you that you are a winner. You might want to consider putting up a reminder wall in your office for all people to see, especially yourself, the periods of your life when you did something awesome or phenomenal. You could also post a tail light, something that scared the living bejesus out of you to remind yourself how close you came to disaster or death or anything you normally wouldn’t want to be reminded about. Tail lights remind you of a couple of things: that you’re mortal, first and foremost, and that God has bigger plans you.
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The Tail Light
This is the podcast where I hit growing business from every possible angle from mechanical tips. I don’t know how many tips I’ve done in this podcast for using Facebook, Google or social platforms to grow website or grow business. I’ve talked about the psychology of growing business from literal psychological methodologies of training, teaching and managing other people. I’ve used psychology and how to define what product you should come out with next by Reading Your Customer’s Minds. That’s actually the title of a podcast. It’s on the Today’s Growth Classics section of iTunes. I have hit growing business from many different angles over the years of this podcast. I am going to hit growing business from an angle that I’ve only done this from one time.
I wonder if this isn’t a future mandatory field of growing a business. I am literally staring in my office. I’m staring at a four-foot tall, 4×12 to fifteen-foot wide, black velvet corkboard. You can’t see much of the black because if there’s an incredible picture with me and one of my daughters, I’ve got a thumb tacked up there. If there’s a funny picture of me in fifth grade, I’ve got it thumb tacked up there. I’ve got a full page from the USA Today when I wrote a book with Brian Tracy. I’ve got the whole page of the newspaper thumbtack in all four corners. I’ve got awards in different things. I’ve got a picture from our sales office in Joliet, Illinois. My little brother, Billy’s in there. There are about nine people in there. I see all the awards on the wall. I’m looking at that picture right now. I’ve got a letter from the editor of Inc. Magazine, the first year our company hit the Inc. 5000 list. I found out it looks like we’re going to hit it for the fifth time.
I’m looking at my wife as she was a cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls. She’s in the bottom row on the right-hand side, of course looking unbelievably hot. I got a picture of me skiing. I’m jumping over a second story balcony in Hurley, Wisconsin up north by the UP. I landed so hard, I over jumped the landing. Instead of landing on a hill going down should be a soft landing, I landed on a flat section. My head hit between my skis so aggressively, I ripped the spine in my neck. They had to take the backseat of our minivan out and drive me twelve hours home, lying flat on my back where I spent a week in bed. Should have been in the hospital, but I’m stupid. Found out later from a doctor that I had a reverse C in my neck for twelve years until I had traction for eight weeks to fix it. That’s another one of my crazy things.
I’m looking at a sign, “You don’t have to be crazy to work here. We’ll train you.” That is for sure true. Looking at another sign, “Let me drop everything and work on your problem.” How true is that? Here’s the thing, there is one thing of the hundreds of items on this board that I’m looking at that sometimes chokes me up, but it is a piece of the right rear tail light of our 2010 Lexus LX470 or GX470, I don’t remember. It’s the middle size SUV. Why is that up there? It’s up there because in one fateful day, the day before my mom’s wake, I drove home with my five family members in my car, all six of us. I let my daughter who was only fifteen with her learner’s permit drive home late at night on Interstate 80. To keep the story short, she tried to exit off of an exit too soon. It wasn’t our exit. We had to go down another few exits. I woke up and told her, “No, you’ve got to get it back on the highway.” The semi behind us didn’t slow down as my daughter Kaci slowed down. When she tried to get back on the highway, that semi hit us in the left rear quarter panel in which we rolled.
I don’t know how many times we rolled that car, but all six of us were looking out the front window side windows and the world looked like tossed salad before the roof collapsed on all of us. Let’s say that we landed close to 100 feet off the highway, perpendicular to the highway on a hill. We landed aggressively, all four tires popped. We couldn’t see out the windows because they were all cracked. We couldn’t open any of the doors. As we could see through the cracked windshield, many large men running from the highway towards our car to see if anybody survived. They were able to somehow get one of the doors open because we could not open any from the inside. Magically, let’s say divinely, I believe my mom was upstairs looking down on us saying, “I’ve only been gone two days. Can’t you guys keep your crap straight?” What’s funny about this story is nobody felt a thing. All six of us, nobody felt one thing. We had our seatbelts on. Airbags went off. As we were rolling and all six of us remember every second of it vividly, we all got out of the car quite frankly. We all sat down in a big circle, I said a prayer, my son lifted his iPad and started playing game and my daughter started reading a book. We waited for the police and the ambulance to come. The firemen came and rushed to the vehicle and said, “Where are the people that were in the car?” People said, “They’re right there.”
Bottom line is I could tell you that the fire people, definitely the salvage yard, a couple of days later when they looked at the vehicle said, “It is impossible that anybody survived.” The roof was caved in. The doors are smashed in. To say the car was totaled is an understatement. It appears that the insurance suggester says we rolled sideways, but then the semi either hit us again and flipped us front over rear. Why do I say this? I say this because we live life in three different departments. In life, we’re either in a storm, we’re coming out of a storm or we’re about to go into a storm and that’s it. We are either in a storm, in business or out of a storm and everything’s smooth sailing or we’re smooth but we know a storm’s coming. Prior to the current wall I have in front of me, which is a lot of memories in my old office, I actually had what I was calling a reminder wall. I called it the wall of success and it listed all of my high school successes. I had a lot of high school accolades. I left high school with a lot of records, some of which still stand in a couple different sports.
I went into college and I did the same thing. I was the first graduate from that school with a graphic design degree. I have some athletic records and so on. I went into business with my wife, Kerri. Instantly had some great successes. Even after all of the incredible successes, I still had bad days. When I say I had bad days, I had really bad days. I wasn’t feeling normal. I wasn’t feeling okay. Wasn’t liking life. Many things were going wrong at many different times, which I was doubting a lot of different things. I remember either reading a book or meeting Brian Tracy or somebody and they said, “Do you have a wall of success? A reminder wall?” I’m like, “No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” They said, “No matter how strong you think you are, it’s good to have some anchors in your life to remind you of things you’ve done. It reminds you,” and here’s the quote, “That you are a winner.” Here’s my question to every single person in our audience, “Do you have a reminder wall? I’m not talking about a scrapbook where you can open the book and it can remind you that ten, twenty, 30 years ago you were a state champion in wrestling or you won your Eagle Scout badge, no. Do you have in your office, on a shelf, always displayed for people to see, especially yourself, that in at least three periods of your life, you did something phenomenal? You did something awesome.”
I’m going to build a bridge from this reminder wall. I still have the reminder wall. If I looked to my right, I still got all of the accolades that used to be on my old wall, but it’s to my right. I have to physically turn to see it. I stare at different reminders right now. Here’s the thing. I just got the data. We’re going to smash the Inc. 5000 list again for the fifth time as a mature company, meaning our four-year growth is going to be faster than all eighteen million US companies except a few hundred. We’re still growing like a weed, another different product than a few years ago. We’re using management techniques, business growth techniques, outside consultants. We’re continually tweaking our model as many other companies have done. We are not the first company to hit the Inc. 5000 list five times.
There are many companies that hit the list ten times, fifteen times. Some of the biggest companies in the world have been honored by Inc. Magazine on the same growth pattern. What I’m saying though is this, even still today, I have to be reminded that years ago we were a winner. Kerri and I, we won, we battled through, we did great things. I’m, for a couple of years now, really loving this BHAG principle, Big Hairy Ass Goal. Big Hairy Audacious Goal, if you’ve got kids. We’ve done some big things. Here’s what this means for you. Number one, I’m going to strongly suggest, I don’t care how strong you think you are or how great things are going. At some point, you’re going to come out of this good period and go back into a storm.
You might have health challenges with a family member. You might have business challenges. You might have financial challenges, marital challenges, something challenged. Here’s what I’m wondering, do you have anchor points in your life? I don’t care if you’ve got to go back to preschool and you won a race, a sack race. You know how to sprint? I don’t care but can you find three anchor points that you look back and say, “I am a winner. I did that.” This year now, set a BHAG to where if you hit it, it would replace one of your three current anchors. You’d still have three, but you drop the weakest anchor that you thought showed you’re a winner and it would replace it. My goal this year is I’ve got a BHAG stinking big that when I go and look to the right of my old reminder wall, my old wall of success, it would definitely replace the business accolade, business goals that were hit in prior instances years ago. It would destroy them all. It would be the only thing that would need to be there to remind me I’m a winner. It’s a massive BHAG.
Here’s the question I’ve been asking myself. What would scare me? What goal is so big that I would almost be afraid to do it because it would take so much mental energy, so much focus, so much investment of time and other people that I don’t know if I’d have the energy to follow through? If done, it would destroy all other accolades, all other goals, all other successes and could literally resting, “I did that,” or, “I steered that ship,” or, “Helped those people.” Here’s my question to you. First, “Do you have a tail light? Do you have something that you could post that scared the living bejesus out of you that you could remind yourself of how close you came to disaster, either how close you came to death, how close you came to financial disaster. Do you have anything where you normally wouldn’t want to be reminded of that?”
Maybe you had a divorce, a bankruptcy or a child challenge. Why not put that newsletter upper, that negative thing? I love staring at that tail light because it reminds me of a couple of things. I’m mortal, first and foremost, but I also think, quite frankly, God has bigger plans for me or some member of my family. It gives me a little spark and I don’t notice it every day. It’s off to the left, it’s far away but I’m looking at it right now, clear as day. I drilled two holes in it, it’s a piece of a tail light and I drilled it right into the studs of the wall. There’s nobody ever taking that thing down. That is a reminder, and I can’t tell you how many people have come into my office and said, “Why do you have a part of a taillight anchored to your wall?”
Here’s the question. Not only do you might want a wall of success, a winner wall, a reminder that you’re a winner. You might want to add a little nugget to that. Something that reminds you of how scared you were, and I want to know maybe psychologically, would you want to anchor a thought? Is there a BHAG that you could put in play that if you hit it, that negative thing that almost happened to you? Even if it happened, it now wouldn’t be as bad. You put something in motion. You hit a goal so big it will live past you. Other people could take it over, other people could benefit. You might want to consider a wall of success, a winner wall, a reminder wall, whatever you want to call it. It has to have at least three things that remind you you’re a winner.
Say you started business or you graduated school. How about having a section of a shelf unit to the right of your desk, could only be 1×1 foot, a little cubby hole? Maybe it just has a ribbon you won a race in sixth grade or it has a little cool letter a teacher wrote you. It’s three things that are your current anchors. Your three things you’re most proud of. Doesn’t have to be materialistic. I had an incredible letter written to me one time from a high school coach that wasn’t even my own coach that is a major anchor in my life. If I could find something that replaces that, that would be something because that is a deep psychological winner anchor for me that I count on if and when I have times where I need to read that letter and we are all human.
We are all going to read those things once in a while. Here’s the question. What’s your BHAG? What three things are your anchors? What’s your BHAG that could replace one of those? If you do it, it would make you incredibly, personally proud, you don’t need anybody else to tell you, “You did it.” You can look at that, that new anchor in your life and remind yourself you’re a winner. You don’t need the outside people telling you you’re a winner. You know you are and the proof is right in front of you. I’m calling this episode The Tail Light. Hope this helps. Take care.